Microsoft Says 'Mixed Reality' Is the Future, Not VR and AR: Page 3 of 3

It's not VR or AR. Microsoft wants immersive headsets to be as common as a keyboard and mouse and the company is betting on a new concept, Mixed Reality (MR), to get there.
(Image source: Microsoft)


At the Microsoft Build conference augmented reality company Scope AR announced it has added HoloLens support to its WorkLink software for creating AR and MR “smart instructions” for training and remote workers. "Through its built-in depth camera and sophisticated tracking technology, HoloLens is one of the best wearable devices for hands-free use of the MR applications so many organizations are seeking," said Scott Montgomerie, CEO of Scope AR, said in a statement from the Build conference "With WorkLink now supporting the device, enterprises finally have a simple and easy way to digitize visual instructions at scale -- empowering all workers to become their own expert -- and begin to realize the full potential of MR." 

Early reactions to Microsoft's new strategy have been varied, with some saying the company is making the landscape unnecessarily confusing . Early reviews of Acer's MR HMD have been mixed, with reviewers expressing confusion on how the headset differentiates itself from any other VR headset, given that it has no external cameras for taking in real-world imagery and input.

However, at a $399 cost, and with inside-out tracking capabilities, the Acer headset is does have a bit of a leg up on competitively priced products like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive that require external tracking hardware. With other manufacturers yet to debut their version of a MR headset it's possible someone may create one with external cameras - essentially a budget version of the HoloLens. If Microsoft's MR headsets can beat big names like Oculus, Vive, and Google to the next-generation of headsets it could indeed position Microsoft to extend its already strong foothold in the enterprise and consumer PC market one step further.

"All of these other immersive HMDs are primarily used for gaming and media content,” Sullivan said. “We see HoloLens and the MR HMDs as part of the same broader platform – the mixed reality platform. We think over time you'll begin to see more productivity scenarios and use cases. And potentially over time you'll see the ecosystem fill out across that whole spectrum with a range of use cases and device types.”


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Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News.  


Had the opportunity to try out the HTC VIVE recently. My first experience with VR. Must say, the experience was impressive, and in some cases even a bit disconcerting. After hitting walls and a ceiling fan with the controller a couple times the idea of mixing in the real, physical environment with the virtual seems like a great idea.

This will only work when we no longer have to strap a brick in front of our faces....and the entire gear becomes much much more affordable. Right now it is nothing else than an expensive inconvenience with not much application.

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